Brightsand - Kashishibog - Kopka Rivers

Day 4 - Kashishibog River after Graham Road to Kashishibog River west of Kashishibog Lake (15 km)

All maps shown on this page, unless otherwise stated, are provided courtesy of Toporama which contains information licensed under the Open Government Licence – Canada. I have made additional markings to show route information.

I was glad I fell asleep again after the second storm. We both didn't wake up until after 9AM which is quite late on an extended canoe trip. We were in no hurry to get at it because the wind was still howling from the east and we were obviously windbound for the moment. 

A weather check on my satellite device stated that the wind was going to change directions later in the morning, so we slowly began to break camp and get ready to depart once it did. By 11:30 AM, the wind was still strong but much more manageable and now at our backs, so we left the site shortly after. Here is a shot of the site from the water upon our departure. 

We paddled out of the unnamed lake and up into the Kashishibog River that became quite narrow just east of the lake and once again at the outflow from Sparkling Lake. At that location, there were some swifts that we lined up on our left. A loon was on the other side welcoming us to the expanses of Sparkling Lake.  

Sparkling Lake is a large, gorgeous lake that is dotted with many islands and beaches. Starting from the northwest bay, it was calm as we paddled south, protected by the western shore. However, when we reached the crossing to get east of the many islands in the centre of the lake, we needed to tack southwesterly into the strong wind blowing from that direction. 

The islands in the centre offered us protection as we paddled in the lee to the east of them. We noticed a nice-looking campsite next to a large beach on the most easterly point of the large peninsula that jutted out into the lake. It wasn't on my map, but for others who may try this trip, it looked like a gem. 

When we paddled east past the headland and islands, we were back in a wide open expanse and the winds were blowing in hard from the southwest. Had we aimed directly for our destination at the southeastern corner of the lake, the whitecaps would have hit us broadside, so we opted to tack into the wind to get to a spot where we could use the wind behind us to push us to our destination. 

This brought us to the island in the middle of the large bay. There was a fly-in fishing lodge on the island that was vacant at the time.  In the lee, we borrowed their dock for a moment to eat some wraps and to rest after our battle against the wind. After that, we headed east again and used the wind to sail down to the portage out of Sparkling Lake. This would be the one of the few times that wind was an issue on the entire trip. That's pretty incredible on an 11-day excursion in an area known for volatile weather and storms.  

There was a campsite on an island in the narrows just before the portage. The rapids were a bit too long and bony to line up, so we decided to pull ashore and take the walk on river-right.   

There was a large, grassy campsite at the take-out with some odd targets tacked to trees for lord-knows-what kind of shooting or aiming.

The carry was fairly easy, but at the put-in, the trail kept going. We knew that we had to paddle through a pond for about 400 meters before taking out again, so we assumed the trail just connected the two portages to make one long carry. We opted to put in again in the hopes that we could line up the second portage. 

We enjoyed no such luck, however. The rapids were formidable and were a bit too beefy to line against the current. We took out again and endured a narrow trail with a lot of blow downs and deadfall to negotiate.  Again, we felt that the 243 meters marked on my map were at least 100 meters shy of reality. 

After two back-to-back portages, we were very happy to be able to line up the next two. The first (third after Sparkling Lake) was a little tough against a hard flow, but we both had an end of the boat and were able to do it up the left (river-right). The last was just a swift that didn't cause any issues.  Again, my two sources had discrepancies with one saying a 294-meter port existed there and no port with the other. We didn't see a trail and if there was one, it certainly would have been much shorter than 294 meters. 

For the next 45 minutes or so, we cruised up the Kashishibog River with the wind at our backs. The river was wide and incredibly beautiful there. It was a wonderful and pleasant surprise to behold; we had no idea what to expect, and it was a gorgeous area. It reminded me of the north channel of the French River in many places with exposed rock dramatically lining the shores and popping up as islands. Looking back on it now, barring the Seven Sisters Area, I believe it was one of the more scenic locations on the entire route. 

We arrived at an island-dotted bay with the river pouring into it over a couple of ledges. It was a very pretty spot. When we got out to inspect the campsite overlooking the chutes on the short portage on river-right, it took a microsecond to decide to make it our home for the night. We were ecstatic to have a campsite unmarred by discarded junk and dilapidated bushcraft constructions in a beautiful, natural setting. 

We set up camp and played in the water for a while, swimming above, in, and below the small chute. There was a nice little pool on river-right that we could sit in and have the cool water pour over us -- nature's jacuzzi. 

We had a wonderfully clear evening. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and the moon came up amidst a pinkish hue just as the sun retired for the day. What a fantastic night! It was a welcome relief after the previous two nights' storms. It would be one of our favourite sites on the trip.